I’m not going to feel guilty about the Halloween pumpkins, and my coffee, and my bar of dark chocolate. I’m just not. In an age where eating right means you’re holy and pure and right, I’m just not going to buy into it. I want to buy into it. I do buy into it. Pushing my cart around Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and eyeing the $5 green juice in the refrigerated section or the Kombucha they now sell at Target, and I almost reach for it (but realize: wait, we have a juicer at home, that’s a waste of money — so see, I’m still buying into it, just not buying it). The ready-to-drink green juice holds out a modicum of hope for the weary masses — convenience + health + pretty packaging = holiness. In a similar manner to how malls held out a hope for salvation for a generation or two earlier, now, salvation is found in our pursuit of pure health. If we drink the right thing, make sure there’s no HFCS or food dyes or additives of any kind, then we’ll be okay. We’ve become the helicopter moms of food.
But we often reach for the Kombucha or the kale and think that we are deep down somehow better than all those other people who don’t buy organic food, or that we are somehow more enlightened to use our resources to buy single-origin Fair Trade coffee. And if we do eat meat or dairy, we buy grass-fed, humanely raised cows that were hugged before they were slaughtered. And so we feel good about ourselves. (And did you know this focus on “pure” eating is actually a real, live thing now? It’s called orthorexia.)
Please understand, I think using our money wisely to protect our bodies and our world just plain makes sense and is a proper thing to do; but I also realize it is a luxury that most of the world can’t afford, to pick and choose their food. And sometimes I really want a slice-and-bake cookie or a Starbucks latte with all the yucky chemicals because it tastes good. I’m just not going to do the guilt of it all anymore.
I am not a better human being if I eat those horribly processed pumpkin Halloween candies (um, can you tell I just had several?). Drinking a green juice does not in fact make me better or give me a more worthwhile day. Making sure my kids just get maple-syrup sweetened treats does not make me more gracious, generous and compassionate to those same children. Now I try to serve myself and my family healthy food, but doing so is not a new law that must be fulfilled to make me right before my family, friends, neighbors or God. Huge sigh of relief from this perfectionist who likes to get everything just right. Eating perfectly, though it might change how I feel, will never change my heart.
Now, I know we all know that. But do we have the freedom to choose what we know to be a poor choice (those darn pumpkins again!) and still enjoy the choice we’ve made, without attending guilt? I think we could all have a very successful party by having a big bonfire and throwing away our alternative flours and sweeteners and just being together to laugh and play and not read ingredient lists. Breathe. It’s about the people, not what they put in their mouths, that matters. So eat your candy, or have your glass of wine; make your choice and live with it without looking back with regret; be intentional. Look someone in the eye today, and toast them with champagne, or instant coffee, or your homemade gluten-free, pumpkin muffins with fair trade chocolate. It’s about the people.
This is the sixteenth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post.